Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

How to Use the Hair Color Wheel (2)

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Coolness and Warmth
One of the primary ways in which we divide hair colors is into cool shades and warm shades. Cool shades are those that have base colors which are cool: blues, violets, greens (also called drab) and are often named with indicative terms like “cool”, “icy”, “platinum”, or “ash”. Warm shades are those whose base colors are from the warm colors: red, orange, yellow and they typically bear names that evoke warmth or reflect their color in other terms: “cinnamon”, “auburn”, “burnished”, “sunlit”, “copper”, “golden” and sometimes simply “warm”.
When we think in terms of the Coolness and Warmth in regard to the three main haircolor classifications – Blonde, Brunette and Redhead – it’s important to remember that Blondes and Brunettes can be found in both “cool” and “warm” bases, while Redheads are only rarely found in “cool” tones by their very nature – and when they are cool, they are usually not natural shades but rather exotic colors meant for fashionable enhancement.
Blondes, Brunettes and Redheads
We all would say we can spot a blonde, but there is a specific designation of the crossover point from blonde to brunette. Colors that are level five and above (to level ten) are classified as blondes (unless they are in the red family). Thus blondes can be cool, such as platinum blondes, and ash blondes, or they can be warm, such as with golden blondes.
Brunettes usually begin as we darken to level six and darker – all the way to black. The base tones of these shades can be warm (such as caramel tones or honeyed browns) or cool (as with ash brown and blue black).
Redheads generally are found in the warm spectrum of the color wheel, but can be virtually any level of lightness - every shade from Strawberry Blonde, down to Dark Spice Brown. Redheads can be bold and brassy copper-tops like Lucille Ball, or Carol Burnette, or more sedate celebrity redheads like country music singer Naomi Judd, and her actress-daughter Ashley Judd who has dark auburn hair.
Using the Haircolor Wheel
Seeing how the colors lay out along the wheel helps to show you their relationships and gives advice on how to deal with problems that may arise – as well as avoiding those problems to start. When choosing a color it can be best to stick with analogous color bases to your starting shade.
If you want to go a different direction with the color of your hair – say if you are a redhead and want to tone down the hue of your red mane, then you could perhaps use the color wheel to find a color on the opposite side of the spectrum and apply it to tone down the color. In the case of a redhead such as Dark Spice Brown, you could use a Medium Ash Blonde, or even a Medium Cool Brown to neutralize some of the red color. Just be aware that applying a dark level color on top of a dark level color will only result in increased darkness of the color, regardless of the base color.
Final Notes: Neutrals
There is one group of color bases that we don’t discuss here, since they don’t actually have a “color”. I am referring to “Neutral” based haircolors. These haircolors are designed to be used with hair on which you don’t know the base color, in an effort to avoid unfortunate color reactions in your haircoloring process. Neutral shades would fall along the lightness level charting without being influenced by the base colors themselves. Generally speaking, these are the “safety net” colors; the ones that can be used with more confidence and without fear of bad color results. Lightening a red-based color with a neutral blonde formula, would result in a red-based finished color, but only because the red pigments were there from the start. Neutrals are also great for darkening the haircolor without worry of pigment overload from duplicating base color in the haircolor formula.
Stacy - Hair Stylist     ©
Related post:
The difference between cool and warm hair colors